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‘Tis the Season for Bears!

News reports from nearby Travelers Rest were that a mother black bear and three cubs were sighted along the main drag near town. Someone captured the moment on his or her cell phone and shared it with a local TV station, which shared it with viewers.

The cute little cubs scampered along behind Momma Bear as she lumbered through the yard of a stately columned Southern mansion. Momma paused briefly, apparently distracted from her little trek by traffic along the busy four-lane highway, and stared at the videographer. That gave the cubbies a chance to catch up. Then they resumed their journey and passed beyond view.

We’re experiencing drought here in the Upstate. The late afternoon thunderstorms we get are widely scattered and come and go so quickly that the ground doesn’t have time to soak up the rain. The drought is affecting not only the lawns and lakes and rivers but also the wildlife. And the bears are venturing farther from their natural habitat, bringing them into ever-increasing proximity to population centers. That’s why the Bear Family made its appearance in Travelers Rest.

Our family had its own encounter with a black bear years ago. We were camping in the Great Smoky Mountains Smokemont campground when we came face to face with Sheba. If you’d rather not have your own close encounter with a black bear but would like a vicarious one instead, you might be interested in reading “the rest of the story,” as the late Paul Harvey used to say. Check out the July 2016 issue of Nature Friend magazine, which includes my article “The She-Bear and the Sugar Bowl.”

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